vegansaurus!

10/20/2014

Are you all watching HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver? Because it’s pretty delightful and also one day John Oliver is gonna be my dad so you should probably support him. Now, onto the video!

It’s just ten minutes of dogs dressed like Supreme Court Justices and these dogs are something else! They’re adorable and hilarious and should probably replace them all! (Except for RBG. Nobody messes with RBG. Not even a very cute chihuahua!)

Uh, since this is a vegan blog, let’s make this shit relevant: is it OK to use dogs in entertainment? I feel like it’s very different than exotic animals but i’m sure there’s a way to do it wrong. Anyone with more knowledge on the subject care to weigh in?? 

How do I Swipe Vegan?: Online Dating in an Omni World.  »

A few weeks ago, some friends decided it would be hilarious (and possibly useful) if I made an online dating profile; I agreed and committed to a week. A lot of discussion (one text) went into whether I should join a veg-centric site vs. a mainstream site. For the purposes of this experiment, a mainstream site won out.

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Don’t get me wrong, I was an out an proud vegan in both my profile and the answers to my questions—not that many read or paid attention to either. I got the distinct and immediate sense that, in most cases, I was just a new, online face that people were starting chats with based solely on the newness rather than any perceived commonalities. For instance, one chat from beginning to end (i.e. not even a “hello” to start) went as follows:

him: Do you like Japanese food?  

me: I’m actually vegan, but I love sushi. Soy & Sake recently closed, but Beyond Sushi is fabulous; have you ever been?  There’s one on 14th and one in Chelsea Market.

him: Would you like to go out for Japanese food?

So, besides the odd opener, it was completely obvious that he hadn’t even bothered to read the first 3 short sentences I’d ever uttered in our “relationship.” In fact, it was as if I’d written nothing at all. My veganism wasn’t an issue because no one had noticed it. This was actually helpful, because it gave me time to focus on the the experience as a whole.

I understood from the beginning that I was just a newbie to the online dating culture and that I have to commit like it was my job if I expected to weed out the gems from the frights. If you think I was being callous or superficially dismissive, think again. I was actually doing what I found most people were not doing: reading what others had chosen to present to the world and just generally looking closer. To that end, here are some first impression photo tips I’d like to offer others considering the jump into the online dating scene, or maybe just thinking of revamping of their existing profile:

  • Public bathroom selfies: just don’t do it.
  • Inspect your photo environment for general tidiness and/or personal items you don’t intend to flaunt purposely.
  • Don’t take all of your photos in your mom’s house.
  • Don’t take all of your photos on a floral couch surrounded with doilies on every flat surface. I’m gonna think it’s your mom’s house.
  • Please post at least one real photo! If every one is a selfie, I’m going to think you have no friends to snap a pic and/or don’t do anything or go anywhere.
  • Don’t take selfies in which you’re looking away in an effort to seem as though they’re being taken candidly by someone else.

And perhaps I am just being picky. After all, the site indicated that I’m more honest and less friendly to strangers; who am I to argue (a friend told me that the “more indie” designation likely stemmed from my veganism).

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But please, for the love of all that is holy (or not), do not start our “relationship” off on the wrong foot:

  • If you’re 30 years older than me and can see that I’ve chosen a dating age range you don’t fit into, don’t come at me with your “I’m 68 looking for a woman between the ages of 18-40.” I mean, good luck with that, but don’t come at me.
  • Don’t ask me to meet without ever having had a conversation; there are sites for that too.
  • Don’t just say “hi.” That tells me you have nothing to say.
  • Don’t just say “hi, (insert complimentary term).” see above.
  • Do not ask me where I work. I don’t even know you.

And, finally:

  • Do not use the term “human flesh” unless you’re Hannibal Lector (yes, someone really did. More on that later).

Granted some of these issues may seem trite, but not so racism, homophobia, and whatever you call it when you plainly state that you put more emphasis on faith than science. Yep, a frightening lot of those exist overtly in dating cyberspace.

But then a couple of seemingly like-minded vegans found me and I started having some friendly, comfortable conversations. I was simultaneously dealing with the omnis I’d left myself open to in order to see what would happen. It mostly went as I thought it would:

  • confusion over the definition of veganism and how it differs from vegetarianism
  • general confusion about the feasibility of living a life without cheese or bacon
  • assumptions that everyone eats fish

So, you know, pretty much like an ordinary day in a vegan’s life. But then I had this conversation:

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(One of my favorite things in the world is to assume that self-proclaimed “animal lovers” are vegan)

Inside, my response was, “On behalf of smart, loving, adorable chickens and turkeys everywhere, I say, ‘Fuck you, sir.’” But that’s not quite what I actually said:

me: I implore you to visit a farm sanctuary to meet chickens and turkeys and I assure you that you will find them both cute and intelligent. 

him: I once met one and it said “cluck you”

me: [silence]

him: .

Yes, when I didn’t reply to what he surely thought was unimaginable wit, he messaged me the “.” that had been missing from the previous message. I assume more because he was proud of his quip and wanted to revisit that than any innate interest in proper punctuation.

I was quickly growing tired of weeding through the nonsense to get to the messages from the two vegans I was actually enjoying my chats with when the frightening message came referencing human flesh. That coupled with my dreams of marrying George Clooney being dashed prompted me to unceremoniously disable my account on the sixth day. Because I’d been reporting my experience in real time, I didn’t get much pushback from the friends who had suggested this experience in the first place.

imageSo, for now, I’m offline.  But, in anticipation of a possible return sometime in the future, I’d like to offer some suggestions to those omnis who might be looking to broaden their compassionate horizons and engage in, at very least, some online conversation with the vegans that exist within the dating pool.

Ahem.

  • Steer clear of death trophies.
    Please do not post photos of you holding a dead or dying animal. This might sound obvious, but there were countless times where I couldn’t swipe left fast enough after seeing a just-hooked fish gasping for breath as they were held proudly aloft by a grinning, otherwise potential date. Yep, not cool. And while you’re consciously not posting such things, why not give some thought as to why you might not participate in them either?
  • Don’t lead with all the reasons you’re not vegan.
    If you’ve already read and understood that your person of interest is vegan, don’t start a conversation by enumerating all of the reasons you’re “almost” vegan. Such knee-jerk offense serves only to exemplify your ability to make excuses for behavior that you already know is wrong: not exactly a trait most people are looking for in a significant other. Yes, I’m vegan and maybe you’re not. But if you’re interested in me and/or curious about veganism or simply why I’m vegan, why not just ask me about it? I’ve never met a vegan who couldn’t go on for days about the subject in general, their activism, and how much they love food.
  • Be open-minded about my veganism.
    Okay, so maybe you started a conversation based on physical attraction alone and didn’t even notice that the person 
    mentioned veganism—that’s allowed! So when it comes up in conversation, STAY COOL. Perhaps you’re interested and perhaps you’re not ready to reconsider how your lifestyle affects animals. We get it. We’d like you to, but we get it. So don’t insult us because we’re not on the same page. Despite what people think, vegans try very hard not to be judgmental and it’s something everyone could stand to do less. Just try to keep in mind that anything you can learn from another about doing the most good and the least harm is a treasure. This might not be the person of your dreams and you might not be ready to embrace veganism yourself, but take the information gleaned and move on gracefully.
  • Never mention the word flesh.
    Of any kind. In any context.

Ok. Your turn. What about your vegan, dating exploits? Any tips?

Los Angeles! Mohawk Bend is back with another Authors Worth Celebrating event and this time it’s for the LUSTY VEGANS. (boom chicka wa wa!) (is that how you spell that?) (I need a definitive answer here.) 
Here are the details:
Monday, November 24th
6:30pm @ Mohawk Bend 
RSVP authors@mohawk.la$30/per person, 4-course vegan meal Mohawk Bend2141 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026
Friendsgiving theme! Yay! 

Let’s all go and eat all the food and be best friends and have the NIGHT OF OUR LIIIIIIIVES! 

Los Angeles! Mohawk Bend is back with another Authors Worth Celebrating event and this time it’s for the LUSTY VEGANS. (boom chicka wa wa!) (is that how you spell that?) (I need a definitive answer here.) 

Here are the details:

Monday, November 24th
6:30pm @ Mohawk Bend 
RSVP authors@mohawk.la
$30/per person, 4-course vegan meal 
Mohawk Bend
2141 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026
Friendsgiving theme! Yay! 
Let’s all go and eat all the food and be best friends and have the NIGHT OF OUR LIIIIIIIVES! 

10/17/2014

Animal News You Can Use: Progress for pigs and quacktastic news for ducks!  »

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Yesterday, the New Jersey Assembly overwhelmingly passed a bill to ban pig gestation crates, sending it to Gov. Chris Christie’s desk. Moments afterward, Danny “Don’t Veto” DeVito issued a letter to the governor, telling him that signing the bill is a sure way to get him into the pearly gates.

This week also marked a major advance in the fight for farm animals. The  U.S. Supreme Court allowed California’s landmark law banning the sale of foie gras to stand, setting a further precedent that states can block the sale of products based solely on animal cruelty concerns, even if those foods were produced in other states.

While New Jersey and California may be moving in the right direction, some pork producers still defend locking pigs in tiny cages. My rebuttal to one of them is published in the MinnPost this week.

And the fact that some pork producers are still defending the indefensible left my coworker Josh Balk asking in a new opinion piece, is bacon the new veal?

P.S. Video of the week: Pit bull meets baby chicks.

P.P.S. Are you on Twitter? Did you know that for free you can “donate” your account to help occasionally get the word out about important farm animal protection efforts? I’d be grateful if you would—here’s the link!

Follow Your Heart’s new slices make the perfect vegan grilled cheese!  »

imageI am a Follow Your Heart vegan cheese loyalist. It was my first melting vegan cheese, it makes the perfect baked vegan mac ‘n’ cheese (don’t even come to me with that saucy nonsense, mac ‘n’ cheese has to have a crust), and I can’t stomach Daiya. Naturally, I was pretty excited to try FYH’s new vegan slices. FYH sent me two slices each of American, provolone, and garden herb to sample.

What I did, obviously, was make a glorious grilled cheese. Actually, I first tried a garden herb slice alone, fresh out of the fridge, and honestly, it wasn’t so great. It’s plasticky and unyielding to the tooth, and not super flavorful, either. Disappointing. However, the very properties that make it unsuitable for eating raw raise it to glorious heights when melted.

I make an excellent vegan grilled cheese. I know that when using the standard FYH “wet block,” the tricks are to slice it thin, overlap evenly, and broil the sandwich open-faced till the cheese nears melting before slapping it together and grilling the exterior of the sandwich. This is super-annoying, but if you want a flawless grilled cheese sandwich using the vegan cheese that doesn’t nauseate you, these are the steps you must take.

However, with FYH’s new formula, making a vegan grilled cheese is as easy as working with standard torture-cheese. You put it on the bread, you put the bread in the pan, you fry until golden brown. Within the crunchy fried bread, the Follow Your Heart cheeses will be soft and melting. The above pictured sandwich was made with one slice of each of the provolone, American, and garden herb. It tasted of salt and fat and childhood. Do you miss the blandly comforting grilled cheeses d’antan? Here they are, once more within your grasp.

Follow Your Heart’s brand new cheeses come in provolone, American, garden herb, and mozzarella flavors. They come in blocks and slices, and the provolone and American also come in singles. They will be available nationwide in “early 2015,” we’re told. In the meantime, we can dream of the perfect vegan grilled cheese.

10/15/2014

Win a year’s supply of mock meat AND learn how to cook it with Beyond Meat!  »

Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com!

Blame it on my multi-year stint as a raw foodist living and working at a raw vegan retreat center, but in my late twenties, I still don’t really know how to actually cook many vegan things, especially plant-based meat! 

That’s why I’m SO EXCITED that Beyond Meat has created a cooking show specifically to show us how to cook their plant proteins: Caitlin’s Kitchen! Major disclaimer: my favorite (and only!) vegan brother Asher Brown directed this series and shot it at his vegan film studio, Pollution Studios. AMAZING! [Ed. note: dang, the Brown family is a vegan powerhouse!]

Apparently I’m not the only one unsure of how to use plant meat, because Beyond Meat gets SO many questions regarding how to use their products on the reg, so they were like, “hey why not show the world how our own chef prepares our recipes for trade shows, events, etc!” Makes sense to me!

Beyond Meat’s main chef, Caitlin, is going to expand the series beyond just how to prep Beyond Meat, including showcasing her expertise in other areas such as how to cook vegetables, how to make delicious marinades, party planning tips etc. AWESOME!  You can watch the current episodes on Youtube!

Do you want to learn how to cook something specific? Because Beyond Meat reps say we can ask Caitlin questions via Twitter by using the hashtag #AskCaitlin. Beyond Meat will come back with a fun video to answer! (you’ll basically be famous.)

What questions have you been dying to know about cooking faux meat? I know I have a million, like how do I make vegan pigs in a blanket without starting an oven fire? 

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!

You can now enter to win a one-year supply of free Beyond Meat during the second-annual CLUCKtober! Just post your favorite Beyond Meat recipes tagged #CLUCKtober, either emailed, Instagrammed, or tweeted. Find details and enter here.

[Ed. note: A year supply? You could be Scrooge McDuck-ing in all that faux chicken!]

10/14/2014

YOU GUYS! This princess bullie is named Bitsy and she needs a foster or forever home ASAP! Is that you?!! She is SO DAMN CUTE and GOOD WITH OTHER DOGS and OBVIOUSLY THE BEST AND NOT ‘CAUSE SHE LOOKS JUST LIKE MY DOG HAZEL. Please, someone in the SF Bay Area, help this precious girl!!!!!!
From Blue and Morty:

URGENT **Rescue, Adopter or Foster needed ** Located in Vallejo, California Meet Bitsy. She is a sweet, approximately 1 year old pittie. As you can see, her current living conditions are less than ideal. Bitsy spent much of the first part of her life living in a chicken coop. She is now tied to a tree 23 hours a day. Her only human contact is a wonderful neighbor who has purchased her a dog house, feeds her, walks and plays with her, makes sure she has blankets and plenty of water. She is unable to take Bitsy as she currently has 3 rescues of her own. Bitsy’s neighbor has convinced her owner to give her up. Bitsy is good with children and dogs - no cats. She is currently UTD on all vaccines. Bitsy has a sponsor who is willing to pay for her to be neutered and microchipped. Norcal Bully Rescue will also sponsor all of her food, a crate, toys, bed, etc. Please re-post and share this post with any rescue, foster or responsible adopter you may know. Let’s find this girl a home so that she can live the life that she deserves!!
If you’re interested in helping, contact Jen at jennifer.rund@att.net or Maria Sandoval at Mbs@dodgeandcox.com or 707 334 6948!

YOU GUYS! This princess bullie is named Bitsy and she needs a foster or forever home ASAP! Is that you?!! She is SO DAMN CUTE and GOOD WITH OTHER DOGS and OBVIOUSLY THE BEST AND NOT ‘CAUSE SHE LOOKS JUST LIKE MY DOG HAZEL. Please, someone in the SF Bay Area, help this precious girl!!!!!!

From Blue and Morty:

URGENT **Rescue, Adopter or Foster needed ** Located in Vallejo, California Meet Bitsy. She is a sweet, approximately 1 year old pittie. As you can see, her current living conditions are less than ideal. Bitsy spent much of the first part of her life living in a chicken coop. She is now tied to a tree 23 hours a day. Her only human contact is a wonderful neighbor who has purchased her a dog house, feeds her, walks and plays with her, makes sure she has blankets and plenty of water. She is unable to take Bitsy as she currently has 3 rescues of her own. Bitsy’s neighbor has convinced her owner to give her up. Bitsy is good with children and dogs - no cats. She is currently UTD on all vaccines. Bitsy has a sponsor who is willing to pay for her to be neutered and microchipped. Norcal Bully Rescue will also sponsor all of her food, a crate, toys, bed, etc. Please re-post and share this post with any rescue, foster or responsible adopter you may know. Let’s find this girl a home so that she can live the life that she deserves!!

If you’re interested in helping, contact Jen at jennifer.rund@att.net or Maria Sandoval at Mbs@dodgeandcox.com or 707 334 6948!

GLORY BE: Field Roast introduces NEW VEGAN CHEESE SLICES!   »

Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com!

Field Roast has introduced a new line of vegan cheese, Chao Slices! We have yet to get our hands on some, but it should be in stores soon. And we’re thrilled that they’re now officially a “vegan meat and cheese” brand! Because YOU KNOW their veg sausages are FANTASMIC. And this cheese looks ooey-gooey-good!:

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COME AT ME, BRO!

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10/10/2014

Animal News You Can Use: No one’s a winner on a factory farm  »

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Newspapers across the country celebrated last week’s massive litigation win for chickens, with the LA Times headlining that “Hens Win” and even Missouri’s Kansas City Star editorializing that the challenge to California’s hen protection law was “foolish.”

Though we can win battles against factory farms, no one’s a winner on the farms themselves—including workers. That’s why I’m proud to have jointly published this article with the United Farm Workers about the connection between farm animal abuse and farm worker abuse.

And speaking of having it bad, you may have seen the national headlines about the tragedy in California where some teens allegedly broke into a factory farm and clubbed hundreds of chickens. Of course, such violence is unconscionable, but it happens every day. Find out what I mean in my Huffington Post article.

With so much outcry over farm animal abuse, it’s no wonder plant-based foods are catching on so much—and if this start-up has anything to do about it, plant-based meats are about to get even better. The Wall Street Journal has the story.

P.S. Video of the week: Think cats are the only animals who like laser pointers? (Seriously, this is amazing.)

#NEWSFAIL: Vegan authors take on the media! Plus, meet Jamie Kilstein & Allison Kilkenny in Brooklyn on Tuesday!  »

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Remember that time I interviewed comedian Jamie Kilstein and told you all to go see him at UCB in Los Angeles (you seriously missed out if you didn’t go, btw!)?! Well, during said interview Jamie told me that he, and his also awesomely funny and vegan wife, Allison Kilkenny, had written a book that was coming out this fall. And you guessed it, IT’S ALMOST OUT!!! 

Newsfail: Climate Change, Feminism, Gun Control, and Other Fun Stuff We Talk About Because Nobody Else Will addresses all kinds of issues the world faces today but also includes a whole chapter on veganism. I was fortunate enough to get a copy of this piece of (very informative) comedic gold, and let me be the first to tell you, I for reals LOL’d. Jamie and Allison have perfected the balance of presenting cringeworthy facts about eating non-human animals, with poking fun at how people stereotype and hate on vegans. They also shares a recipe for “Jamie’s Vegan Better-Than-Stupid-Pad-Thai Pad Thai.” Basically, it’s a #lifefail if you don’t buy their book!

#NEWSFAIL will officially be released on October 14th, but you can pre-order a copy NOW! Help put an awesome book promoting veganism on “The Charts!” 

But wait, there’s more! People of NYC (and the large suburban outlying areas surrounding it), you have the GLORIOUS opportunity on October 14th to MEET JAMIE & ALLISON (and buy a copy of #NEWSFAIL), at The Powerhouse Arena,in the hip land of Brooklyn. Don’t even ponder it, JUST GO (and RSVP here)!

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